OMG! Are Eagles Really That Special?? Find Out How Eagles Are Revered In This Country ! • illuminaija

OMG! Are Eagles Really That Special?? Find Out How Eagles Are Revered In This Country !


OMG! Are Eagles Really That Special?? Find Out How Eagles Are Revered In This Country !

The eagle is one of the highly revered animals of Native Americans. An eagle symbolizes vision, valor, healing power, and freedom to achieve our dreams. In fact, having eagle feathers is considered honorable in Native American culture, and the person wearing these on a headdress has to earn it by performing an act of courage. In Hindu culture, the ‘garuda’ (eagle) is a vehicle of Lord Vishnu.

Despite having a high place in religion, the irony is that, on one hand, humans pray and worship animals, and on the other hand, sacrifice them to please the gods.

Among the Pueblo tribes, eagles are considered one of the six directional guardians, associated with the upward direction, spirituality, and balance. The Zunis carve stone eagle fetishes for protection, ascribing to them both healing and hunting powers, and the Eagle Dance is one of the most important traditional dances held by the Hopi and other Pueblo tribes. In the mythology of some tribes, Eagle plays a leadership role (either as king of the birds, or as a chief who humans interact with.) 

OMG! Are Eagles Really That Special?? Find Out How Eagles Are Revered In This Country !


In other legends, Eagle serves as a messenger between humans and the Creator. The golden eagle, also known as the “war eagle,” is particularly associated with warriors and courage in battle, and it is golden eagle feathers that were earned by Plains Indian men as war honors and worn in their feather headdresses. 

(In some tribes, this practice continues to this day, and eagle feathers are still given to soldiers returning from war or people who have achieved a great accomplishment.) In some Northwest Coast tribes, the floor used to be dusted with eagle down at potlatches and other ceremonies as a symbol of peace and hospitality.

OMG! Are Eagles Really That Special?? Find Out How Eagles Are Revered In This Country !

Because eagles are considered such a powerful medicine animal, the hunting or killing of eagles was restricted by many taboos. Eating eagle meat was forbidden in many tribes; in some legends, a person who eats eagle meat is transformed into a monster. In some Plains Indian tribes, feathers were required to be plucked from a live eagle so as to avoid killing them (to accomplish this, eagles were trapped in a net and released.) In Southeastern tribes, only men with special eagle medicine, known as Eagle-Killers were permitted to kill eagles. In the Cherokee tribe, even Eagle-Killers were only permitted to kill eagles during wintertime.

Eagles are also one of the most widespread clan animals used by Native American cultures. Tribes with Eagle Clans include the Chippewa (whose Bald Eagle Clan and its totem are called Migizi, while the Golden Eagle Clan is called Giniw), the Hopi (whose Eagle Clan is called Kwaangyam or Qua-wungwa), the Zuni (whose Eagle Clan name is K’yak’yali-kwe) and other Pueblo tribes of New Mexico, Plains tribes like the Caddo and Osage, and Northwest Coast tribes like the Haida, Kwakiutl, Tsimshian, and Tlingit. Eagle was an important clan crest on the Northwest Coast, and eagle designs can often be found carved on totem poles, ceremonial staffs, and other traditional Northwestern art. And many eastern tribes, such as the Cherokee, have an Eagle Dance among their tribal dance traditions.

OMG! Are Eagles Really That Special?? Find Out How Eagles Are Revered In This Country !

The U.S. government operates a facility dedicated to deceased members of that most American of bird species, the bald eagle, and the scope of its collection might surprise you.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has operated the National Eagle Repository for more than 30 years at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, northeast of Denver, Colorado.

The repository receives dead bald and golden eagles, then prepares, stores, and distributes their body parts to feathers, wings, heads, talons, and even entire birds, to members of federally recognized Native American tribes for religious rituals and cultural activities. Legally, only Native Americans are allowed to use eagle remains.

The repository receives these carcasses from government agencies like the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service and from civilians who find the bodies and send them to the facility.

The website for the repository is a veritable Bible for eagle fans. It features an eagle identification gallery, statistics on stock and requests, information on laws and regulations, and instructions for mailing bird corpses to the repository.


Eagles, and their body parts, are considered sacred to most Native American tribes. In Indian culture, the eagle flies higher and sees farther than any other creature and its closeness to the sky represents closeness to the creator.

According to the American Eagle Foundation, the eagle “is considered to be a messenger to God.”


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